Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians
Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians
Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians A Report Prepared for the American Library Association Senior Management and Executive Board to inform its 2015 Strategic Planning Activities Released June, 2009 Compiled by Denise M. Davis Director, Office for Research & Statistics
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Table of Contents Acknowledgements 4 The Recent History and Future of Librarians: Implications for Retirement by 2015 6 Introduction 7 Today’s Credentialed Librarian 9 Figure 1: Credentialed Librarians by Age, 2005 9 Men are From Classics, Women from Reference? 10 Figure 2: Credentialed Librarians by Employer Type and Gender 11 The Recent History of Librarian Age Composition 11 The Aging of Librarians 11 Figure 3: Credentialed Librarian Median Age by Gender, 1980-2005 12 Figure 4: Number of Credentialed Librarians by Age, 1980-2006 13 Figure 5: Tracking Baby Boom Credentialed Librarians, 1980-2005 14 A 25 Year Perspective by Age and Gender 14 Figure 6: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980 15 Figure 7: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1990 15 Figure 8: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 2000 16 Figure 9: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 2005 16 Tracking Librarians Forward in Time 18 Estimating Net Joiners and Retirees 19 1980 – 1990 19 Figure 10: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980 20 Figure 11: Credentialed Librarians by Growth, 1980-1990 21 Figure 12: 1980 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 1990 21 1990 – 2000 22 Figure 13: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1990 23 Figure 14: Credentialed Librarians Growth 1990 – 2000 24 Figure 15: 1990 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 2000 24 1995 – 2005 25 Figure 16: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1995 26 Figure 17: Credentialed Librarians Growth 1995-2005 27 Figure 18: 1995 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 2005 27 2
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Annualized Rates of Change 28 Figure 19: Credentialed Librarian Annualized Growth within Age Group 28 Figure 20: Male Credentialed Librarians Annualized Growth within Age Groups 30 Figure 21: Female Credentialed Librarians Annualized Growth within Age Groups 30 Gender, Retirement, and Part-time Work 31 Figure 22: Male Credentialed Librarians: Hours Worked Per Week by Age, 1980-2005 32 Figure 23: Female Credentialed Librarians: Hours Worked Per Week by Age, 1980-2005 32 Librarian Projections 33 Total Counts of Librarians 34 Table 1: Projection Scenarios for Credentialed Librarians 2015 35 Future Age Structure 35 Figure 24: Number of Credentialed Librarians 2005 and 2015 Projected Using Rates from Three Past-time Periods 36 Table 2: Changing Age of Distribution of Credentialed Librarians, 1980-2015 38 Projected Retirements 38 Table 3: Retirements by Decade Among Credentialed Librarians 39 Supply of Librarians and Degrees Conferred 40 Figure 25: Library Science Master’s Degrees Conferred 1969-2005 by Gender 40 Projections of ALA Member Retirements 41 Table 4: Summary of ALA Membership Counts Used in Member Retirement Projections 41 Table 5: Projected Retirements of ALA Members 43 Figure 26: Working U.S.
Based Members, 2009 44 Figure 27: Projected Working Status in 2015 of U.S. Based Member 2009 Workforce 45 Figure 28: Projected Working Status in 2020 U.S. Based Member 2015 Workforce 45 Figure 29: Census Credentialed Librarian vs. ALA Membership Age Distributions 47 References 49 Appendix A: Librarian Retirements Loom Large: A Presentation to the American Library Association Executive Board, Monday, July 13, 2009 (Slides) 50 3
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Acknowledgements The ALA wishes to thank Stephen J. Tordella, President, Decision Demographics and Thomas E. Godfrey, Research Demographer (http://decision-demographics.com/html/index2.html) for their continued work on behalf of libraries and librarians. The ALA Office for Research & Statistics wishes to thank the ALA senior management team and John Chrastka, Director, Membership Development for their contributions to this project. 4
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians The American Library Association (ALA) establishes and operates within a 5-year strategic plan.
Each plan is developed with extensive environmental scanning, member participation, and staff coordination. Assessment of the most recent strategic plan, Ahead to 2010 (2005-2010), employed a variety of activities involving members, member leaders the public, and the research community to inform the ALA of its performance. Among the activities used was a survey of membership to understand perception of importance and performance for each strategic goal (gap analysis) administered by the ALA; a member satisfaction survey administered by Harris Interactive in summer 2008; analysis of the overall librarian workforce using 26 years of Census data administered by Decision Demographics; analysis of ALA membership trends during the strategic plan period administered by the ALA Director of Membership Development; a household survey of the public administered by KRC Research in January 2009; and, 40 ALA member focus groups coordinated by the ALA Office for Chapter Relations.
The information gathered from these assessment efforts was used to determine ALA’s overall performance during the Ahead to 2010 strategic plan period (2005-2010), to inform ALA planning at all levels, including divisions and operational units, and in its development of the 2015 strategic plan goals and objectives.
Recognizing the impact of retirements on the profession and ALA member leadership, ALA engaged Stephen J. Tordella, President, Decision Demographics and Thomas E. Godfrey, Research Demographer to undertake detailed analysis of the workforce data available from the US Census Bureau and develop a methodology for future “trending” of librarian employment. Under the direction of the ALA Office for Research & Statistics, Tordella and Godfrey conducted the detailed analysis, developed a methodology for projecting the librarian workforce for all types of libraries, and applied that to the Census and most current ALA membership data to establish an employment trend model to 2015.
That work - study design, methodology, analysis and projections – comprise the full report herewith. The full report was prepared for ALA senior management; a summary of the full report was developed for the ALA Executive Board and presented at its July 2009 meeting in Chicago, IL [Librarian Retirements and ALA Membership Study, ALA Executive Board Document # 12.58.]. Both are included in this document; the summary slides appear as an appendix.
Inquiries about the demographic analysis should be directed to the ALA Office for Research & Statistics (firstname.lastname@example.org). 5
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians: Implications for Retirement by 2015 Stephen J. Tordella, President Thomas E. Godfrey, Research Demographer Prepared for the American Library Association June 12, 2009 6
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians About 178,000 people identify themselves as librarians in Census Bureau population data.
Of these, about 105,000 are presumed to be “credentialed” librarians, meaning they have completed a master’s or doctorate degree. In the last two decades of the 20th century the number of credentialed librarians increased rapidly, but this was followed by a slight decline between 2000 and 2005. More important for the profession, however, is the potential impact that retirement could have during the next ten years. The age structure of librarians is unique. This mostly- female profession has a long-standing pattern whereby people join it at what would be the middle or latter part of many careers.
This pattern gained strength as the first half of the baby boom ascended through the profession. Today, this large group of early boomers is in their 50s. They make up over 40 percent of the profession, and they are perched on the precipice of what most think of as the retirement years.
As early as 2002, an American Libraries article reported on an expected wave of retirements in an article titled “Reaching 65: Lots of Librarians Will Be There Soon” (Lynch, 2002). With so many librarians approaching retirement, there are many questions being raised. How many are going to retire? When will they retire? Is 65 the typical retirement age? How long is this retirement wave going to last? What does the future hold? The primary goal of this report is to project the expected number of librarian retirements out to 2015. In doing so, Decision Demographics has documented the underlying structures that will determine the number of librarians expected in 2015.
These factors will be examined in the context of historical trends and used to make forecasts to 2015. Data are drawn from the decennial Census Public Use Microdata (PUMS) files from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census of Population and Housing as well as the 2005, 2006, and 2007 American Community Survey PUMS data. By combining the information in these datasets and adapting demographic projection methods, future trends are predicted and analyzed. This report begins by examining the latest profile of librarians from the 2005-2007 American Community Surveys (ACS). For simplicity, the 2005-2007 ACS period data are referred to simply as “2005” data throughout the report.
The year 2005 also is the launching point for the 7
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians ten-year projections to 2015. An extensive analysis of the implications of age adjustments was undertaken before placing the reference year at 2005. Next, an historic portrait of librarians is presented, drawing on the 25-year series of Census and ACS data. The age composition of librarians is examined with a particular focus on the baby boom generation of librarians. Finally, this report turns to projecting trends forward to 2015 with a detailed discussion of underlying factors that will shape both the number and composition of librarians into the future.
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Today’s Credentialed Librarian Currently there are 104,600 credentialed librarians, down slightly from 105,700 in 2000. Credentialed librarians are defined as persons who report their occupation in the Census or ACS as librarian, and also report having completed at least a master’s degree. Since 2000, the overall number of librarians in Census data has been nearly level after a history of strong growth from 1980 to 2000. However, a number of very important underlying dynamics are playing out within the librarian workforce. To start understanding these dynamics, it is useful to examine the current demographics of the librarian workforce.
The most striking fact is that 41 percent of librarians are in their 50s, as shown in Figure 1. This age group is at the center of the “librarian bubble,” which is the focus of much of this analysis. This bubble is probably the combined result of unprecedented demand and a large reserve supply of librarians. Among librarians currently in their 50s, progressively more and more have joined the profession through their working years. Figure 1: Credentialed Librarians by Age, 2005 9
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Less surprising is the fact that the librarian workforce is largely female: over eight of every ten librarians are women, a ratio that is relatively consistent among all age groups.
As might be expected, older librarians are more likely to be married. In fact a full 68 percent of librarians in their 50s are currently married. As retirement decisions are made, many librarians are likely to find their decision to be influenced by factors within their marriages. Federal, state, or local units of government employ over two-thirds of librarians, with the remainder working for non-profits or for a business. Most librarians working for a unit of government will make retirement decisions that are greatly influenced by their government pension plans. These plans typically provide full benefits, given that a minimum number of service years and age requirements are met—a threshold that is reached by many before the traditional retirement age of 65.
Yet, retirement decisions for the 68 percent who are married will also be greatly influenced by their spouses’ working and retirement situation, in addition to their family financial situation. In sum, there are many confounding factors involved in retirement timing. Assuming all librarians will retire on the day they turn 65 is clearly simplistic. Men are From Classics, Women from Reference?
The men who make up 17 percent of all credentialed librarians are more likely to be found in some settings than others. About 45 percent of men are found in higher education and another 35 percent work in libraries and archives. K-12 schools, both public and private, are largely the domain of women, as Figure 2 illustrates. Besides different employment patterns, men and women tend to have different career paths. As will be shown in greater detail, men tend to follow a more typical career path, starting their professional career at a young age upon graduation from library school. Women, on the other hand, have a more varied set of transitions.
As will be shown, a significant share of women join (or rejoin) the profession in their 30s or 40s.
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 2: Credentialed Librarians by Employer Type and Gender The Recent History of Librarian Age Composition The recent history of age composition reveals much about the current and future supply of librarians and librarian retirees. While individual librarians may join, leave, and possibly rejoin the profession over their careers, these individual transitions cumulate to create fairly unique patterns by age. This section starts with the most general information about age—the median age of librarians—and becomes more specific, tracking key age groups and finally single years of age to see what the data can tell us about when librarians have joined and left the profession over the past 25 years.
It is these patterns that will set the stage for potential librarian retirements between now and 2015.
The Aging of Librarians Figure 3 shows the median age of librarians by gender over the past 25 years. Median age has risen by over ten years for both sexes, a fairly rapid pace. Women went from a median of 41 in 1980 to 52 by 2005, while men’s median rose in a virtually parallel track from age 39 to 51. As we will see, the increases during the 1980s and 1990s came at a time of rapid growth in the 11
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians library profession, implying that net new hires are relatively older. Once built up, the profession has aged forward during the 2000s.
Figure 3: Credentialed Librarian Median Age by Gender, 1980‐2005 Figure 4 shows credentialed librarians by five-year age group from under age 25 through ages 70 and over for 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2005. Each bar represents the count of librarians in a five- year group. The growth of the total profession from 1980 to 2000 is reflected by the increase in almost all the bars. Also clear from the chart is that there is a peak, or boom, in the number of librarians who progressively continue to join the profession on a net basis, even as they age forward. The overall aging of the profession, witnessed in the increases in median age, is reflected as the larger bars shift from left to right over the 25 years.
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 4: Number of Credentialed Librarians by Age 1980‐2006 The core of the librarian boom is a group who are drawn from the first half of the U.S. baby boom, or “early boomers.” These two five-year age groups, the largest groups of librarians in the modern history of the profession, were born between 1946 and 1955. They are a subset of the baby boom, which by most demographic reckoning stretched from the end of WWII through the mid-1960s, specifically 1946 through 1964. In this report, this group is referred to as the “librarian bubble,” because they are early boomers, not simply baby boomers.
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 5: Tracking Baby Boom Credentialed Librarians, 1980‐2005 The librarian bubble is clearly illustrated in Figures 4 and 5. They form the two biggest bars in Figure 4 for 1990, 2000, and 2005, and the first and third largest bars in 1980, when the younger group was just beginning to build. The larger of the two librarian bubble age groups is those who were born from 1946 to 1950—they peaked at nearly 25,000 librarians in the year 2000. Figure 5 shows that those born from 1951 to 1955 have moved almost in parallel to the older group, albeit numbering 1,500 to 3,500 fewer, peaking at over 23,000 in 2000.
The librarian bubble age groups are about 60 percent larger than their older or younger counterparts. They are nprecedented in size historically and will remain so in the forecasts made herein—the next e left and men on the right, with zero for both groups being in the middle. Looking at these four charts n creates a striking portrait of the growth and aging of the profession from 1980 through 2005, and the librarian bubble’s progress through the ranks. u older group, and the forecasted younger groups, all peak at about 15,000 members. A 25 Year Perspective by Age and Gender Figures 6 through 9 present a uniquely demographic way of examining librarian age and gender structure at the same time: the population pyramid.
Each bar represents the single year of age count of librarians of each gender, from age 25 and under through 85 and over. It comes as no surprise that men are relatively rare, reflected in these charts where men appear on th wo in successio 14
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 15 here is some statistical “noise” in these portraits when the focus is narrowed to single years of e T age. Variation from one age to the next is to be expected due to the somewhat small underlying sample sizes available in the Census data. Despite this limitation, the general trends across tim and age are clear. Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980 2,000 1,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85+ Age Number of Men Number of Women Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980 2,000 1,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85+ Age Number of Men Number of Women Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1990 2,000 1,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85+ Age Number of Men Number of Women Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1990 2,000 1,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85+ Age Number of Men Number of Women Figures 6 & 7: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980 and 1990
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 16 Figures 8 & 9: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 2000 and 2005 2,000 1,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85+ Age Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 2005 Number of Men Number of Women
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians In Figure 6 for 1980, the librarian bubble made its first entry into the profession, visible in the ars for those isproportionate to their elders. Women ages 35 to 39, the pre-boomers born during World War I, also made their mark, building in numbers from 12,000 in 1980 to what in 1990 became the first five-year age group to reach 15,000.
Above age 40, there are relatively even numbers of librarians across each age through nearly age 60. Starting with the 60-year-olds, the numbers drop off, doubtless due to retirement. These observations generally hold true for both men and women.
The modern pattern of age distribution appears for the first time in clear relief in Figure 7 for 1990. The bulge from the mid-30s through late 40s represents the pre-boomers and librarian bubble—especially evident among women. The numbers of librarians under age 35 has dropped off significantly compared to 1980, since the early-boomer librarian bubble has passed out of the entry-level ages. In the total U.S. population, the early boomers and late boomers are split nearly 50:50 (Census, 1996), but among librarians, it is the early-boomers—the librarian bubble—that predominates in 1990 as well as subsequent years.
The librarian bubble took the major share of growth that occurred from 1980 to 1990 as well as 1990 to 2000, possibly clogging the pipeline for their slightly younger peers.
In 2000, Figure 8 shows a pattern similar to that seen in 1990, with the librarian bubble moving up the chart as they age. However, rather than staying steady or declining slightly in size, the librarian bubble grew significantly, again particularly among women. Early baby-boomer women in their 40s spent the 1990s becoming librarians. They may have been mothers who had earned an MLS at a younger age and returned to the workforce, or they may have been career changers with new MLS degrees. Some may have entered the workforce for the first time in middle age. Regardless of the cause, the librarian bubble expanded during the decade; their younger counterparts also increased, but not to the same extent.
b under age 35. This is particularly evident for women, but the men are also d I 17
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Finally, Figure 9 shows the age and gender makeup of librarians in 2005, the most recently available Census data in this series. Clearly the pre-boomers and the librarian bubble are progressing toward retirement. Indeed, the leading edge may have even begun to retire. There are also signs of growth among many of the ages under 40. Tracking Librarians Forward in Time The next step in developing an understanding of the current and future composition of librarians to combine the data from the four points in time shown in Figures 6 through 9. By “aging” s, es are due to retirements.
The advantage of these aggregate data that they can be used to quantitatively forecast future age composition and retirements among e is librarians forward 10 years and comparing their distribution with age data from the next censu the net changes over a decade can be deduced. These net changes in counts of credentialed librarians are the combined result of many factors, including people being hired, people leaving positions, people retiring, positions being created, positions being eliminated, people dying, and even changes in measurement procedures in the underlying census data. In the interpretation of net changes, this paper makes simplifying assumptions that the net additions that occur through the middle ages are the result of new people joining the profession, while the net declines at older ag is librarians.
The complement to analyzing broad extracts of Census data is studies focused exclusively on librarians. For those who are interested in data that follow the arc of individual careers, the WILIS study has begun collecting data that track library and information scienc graduates in the state of North Carolina, and soon many other programs. Some combination of tracking data such as WILIS with the census-based demographic approach will be needed to fully understand the working life course of librarians and anticipate future changes. 18
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Estimating Net Joiners and Retirees The next nine charts illustrate the changes that have taken place among the credentialed librarian population by single years of age. Although the forecasts in the latter portion of this paper ctually use data by five-year age groups for stability in the calculations, these single year of age ned and what is about to happen in the field. ssentially, charts from two adjoining censuses are overlaid with librarian ages offset by ten n ce. yields th portrayal of et change during the 1980s shows that mid- to late-career entry is a well-established pattern mong librarians, one with a long history.
It also shows the role that later career entry has played ation and growth of the librarian bubble (they are ages 35 to 44 in 1990) and the pre- boomer group just older than the bubble. Again, this pattern is especially evident among women. a charts powerfully portray what has happe E years, allowing the estimation of net additions to and departures from the profession from 1980 to 1990, 1990 to 2000, and 1995 to 2005. Each group of three charts shows the situation at the beginning of the decade by repeating an earlier chart, and then moves that group forward ten years of age and displays two additional charts for joiners and retirees.
As noted earlier, whe showing patterns by single years of age, there is likely to be some noise in the data. 1980‐1990 Figure 10 shows 1980 librarians; it is identical to Figure 6 and is shown here for convenien Figure 11 shows this same population of librarians aged forward by ten years (the blue bars) with retiring librarians removed. Take note how the librarian-bubble bulge has moved up by ten years. Then the actual 1990 Census librarian counts are overlaid. The difference between the expected count from aging the 1980 librarians forward and the actual count found in 1990 the estimate of net growth from 1980 to 1990.
This is shown in the dark purple bars. Since the 24 year olds from 1980 are 34 in 1990, all librarians younger than 34 are shown in purple, as net additions since 1980. The biggest story in Figure 11 is the very strong net grow evident at all ages from 34 all the way up to age 55, especially among women. This n a in the form 19
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 20 it shows net loss of librarians by age and gender etween 1980 and 1990, which is presumed to be due to retirement. The lighter blue portions of Figure 12 is the complement to Figure 11— b the bars indicate retirements at older ages. Some retirement is evident among those who turned 60 in 1990, and that pattern becomes much stronger at older ages. Figure 10: Credential Librarians by Gender and Age, 1980
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figures 11 & 12: Credentialed Librarians Growth 1980‐1990 and 1980 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 1990 21
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 1990‐2000 The situation of ormation shown for the 1980s, Figu igure 7. Figure 14 shows this same population of librarians aged forward by ten years (the blue bars) with retiring librarians removed. Growth of the librarian bubble was strong during the 1980s; but what is so notable about Figure 14 is that it shows that these bubble age groups continued their rapid growth for yet another decade (they advance in age to 45 to 54 in 2000). Strong net growth in the 1990s again extends well into middle ages, including women who entered their 50s during the decade.
While the biggest group is still the librarian bubble, their smaller successors are nonetheless benefiting from additional jobs. By 2000, even the under-35 age groups, who are all new librarians, are bigger than they were in 1990.
The interpretation of these “net” change figures can be confusing—taking the example of 40- year-old women in 1990 who became 50-year-olds by 2000 may help to clarify what is known about the timing of the net change. In 1990, 2,772 40-year-old credentialed, female librarians responded to the census. Ten years later, 4,401 of their counterparts responded at age 50. This means that sometime during the 1990s, 1,629 women who were aging from age 40 to age 50 joined the profession on a net basis. So the 50-year-old found in 2000 may have joined the profession anytime between when she was 40 and 50.
Despite the diffuseness inherent to net change data, the resulting patterns are undeniable in their size and impact on the profession. Again, Figure 15 is the complement to Figure 14—it shows net loss of librarians by age and gender between 1990 and 2000, which is presumed to be due to retirement. The lighter blue portions of the bars indicate retirements at older ages. Retirement appears to take hold at a slightly younger age in the 1990s than in the 1980s. Retirement among both women and men can be seen starting below age 60. Men’s retirement patterns appear fairly consistent up the age scale and women appear to retire at higher ages.
More specific rates with regard to retirement will be shown below.
the 1990s is portrayed in Figures 13 through 15. Similar to the inf re 13 shows 1990 librarians; it is identical to F 22
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 23 Figure 13: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1990
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figures 14 & 15: Credentialed Librarians Growth 1990‐2000 and 1990 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 2000 24
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 1995‐2005 The most recent data available is for 2005, and in order to utilize that information and keep comparisons consistent, another decade of change should be examined.
Thus the 1995 population of librarians was estimated so that data could be assembled for the 1995 to 2005 decade. Figures 16-18 illustrate the patterns in effect for the 1995 to 2005 period. The 1995 estimated librarian population forms the basis of the calculations; it is displayed in Figure 16. Figure 17 shows that the librarian bubble, now ages 50-59, has largely stopped gaining librarians on a net basis, but it remains dominant and very visible. While the profession as a whole was not gaining jobs on a net basis, there is still net growth among librarians in their mid 30s through their 40s.
Based on this series of charts, growth at these ages could almost be considered “entry level.” Entry at the youngest ages, under 35, is also strong.
Again Figure 18 shows net loss of librarians (presumably retirements) by age and gender between 1995 and 2000. The light blue bars appear similar in length to those in Figure 15 for 1990, but with the larger pre-boomer bubble continuing to work, the implicit retirement rates have declined, as will be shown in the following section. 25
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 16: Credentialed Librarians by Gender and Age, 1995 26
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 27 Figures 17 & 18: Credentialed Librarians Growth 1995‐2005 and 1995 Credentialed Librarians Aged to 2005
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Annualized R While the series of population pyramids is very useful for illustrative purposes, for forecasting a summary of net joining and net departure is needed. The following charts show the annual rate of change for each of the three decennial periods. These rates are shown in five-year age groups to ensure that the groups being compared are sufficiently large to smooth out the anomalies of individual age and gender groups. The population pyramids clearly show the librarian bubble aging through the ranks of the profession. The rates charts take into account the relatively large size of the librarian bubble and the smaller size of the librarian age groups following that bubble.
Remember that the bubble corresponds to the first half of America’s baby boom, and that even the second half of the boomers did not get to participate in the rapid growth of the profession as much as those who were older. The rates of change among the older age groups will also provide a basis for predicting the retirement patterns that will apply to the librarian bubble, which is just beginning to experience the retirement process. Although the actual retirement patterns of the librarian bubble cannot be known until they all retire, the past 25 years of retirement behavior offer clues about what is to come.
Figure 19: Credentialed Librarian Annualized Growth within Age Groups ates of Change 28
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 19 shows the annual rate of change for each age group tracked over the course of the three n year periods examined—1980 to 1990, 1990 to 2000, and 1995 to 2005. For example, the d te indicates decline, or librarians retiring from the profession n a net basis, which occurs among the older age groups. 39 years m shows increasing rates of joining over the decades among early to mid- areer librarians. t the high end of the age spectrum librarian numbers decline as they age during the decade and retire, resulting in negative rates of change.
However, the older age groups appear to already have seen their greatest early retirement rates prior to 2000. There are significant differences in how men and women in the library labor force act, so further interpretation of these patterns is specific to gender.
Distinct differences in career paths are indeed evident in Figures 20 and 21, which repeat Figure 19 by gender. While men do join at mid-career ages, they join at rates one-half of or even less of women’s. There has been a slight upturn for the growth rate of men becoming ages 40-44, however. In general, male librarians are continuing to follow a more typical career path, joining the profession at a young age out of school, before age 35. One possible result of earlier entry is te first bar tracks the 25-29 year-olds from 1980 forward to 2000 when they become 35-39 year- olds. Each group of bars represents the three time periods, with blue for 1980-90, maroon for 1990-2000, and yellow for 2000-2005.
A positive annual growth rate indicates growth, or librarians joining the profession on a net basis, which occurs across the younger and middle-age years. A negative annual growth ra o Those who join before age 35 do not appear in these charts because they cannot be tracked across two censuses. The youngest age group that can be tracked is those 25-29 becoming 35- ten years later. The youngest two age groups, 25-29 and 30-34 would have been 15-24 ten earlier—an age at which virtually no librarians are hired. As the population pyramids showed, librarians continue to join the profession until they are well into their 30s, 40s, and even possibly their 50s.
The shrinking annual rates for those aging fro 35-44 to 45-54 imply that this may be slowing somewhat. On the left, younger end of the chart, the first two sets of bars c A 29
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians earlier retirements. Many are likely to be eligible for full-pension retirement by the time they reach their mid- to late-fifties. In recent decades, men 45-49 reaching 55-59 on net are retiring while the women librarians at the same ages still show slight annual growth. Early retirement men, however, reached its maximum during the 1990s (the maroon bars), and declined in the early 2000s. Figure 20: Male Credentialed Librarians Annualized Growth within Age Groups , for Figure 21: Female Credentialed Librarians Annualized Growth within Age Groups 30
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians In contrast to men, Figure 21 shows the high rates at which women join the profession well into middle age. Although no group is going to assume the ultimate size of the librarian bubble, the percentage of women who are new to the profession when they turn 35-44 is rising. Those aging from ages 35-44 to 45-54 (the third and fourth group of bars) actually show some drop-off in annual rates, especially for those becoming 50-54. It could be that these oldest late-career iners came predominantly from the librarian bubble group. It is important to note, however, that wom ecoming 55-59.
This means that on a net basis women continue to join the profession through to their 50s.
This pattern of joining at mid- to late career also appears to have some consequences on retirement patterns. Women never reached the same early retirement rates that men did, and their annual retirement rates uniformly dropped across the three time periods, showing a distinct trend toward further delaying retirement. Nevertheless, women’s retirement rates for the oldest two age groups in the most recent time period are fairly comparable to men’s, at about 6 percent annually for those becoming 65-69, and nearly 12 percent annually for those becoming 70 and over.
Gender, Retirement, and Part‐Time Work One fa reference for and availability of part-time work.
Overall, librarians working part-time (less than 30 hours a week) have been stable for 25 years at about 11 to 12 percent. Women are more likely to work part-time, however. In 2005, 12.3 percent of women and 6.9 percent of men worked less than 30 hours. Figures 22 and 23 show the breakout of hours worked for men and women by age since 1980. The youngest age group, under 30, shows a steady decline of part-time work for both genders, possibly reflecting increasing opportunity as the librarian bubble group ages. The mid-career ages of 30 to 54 among both men and women are shown as a single age group, because there are virtually no part-time work distinctions within the age group.
Mid-career women are only jo en’s growth rate remains just positive through the 25-year period even for those b ctor that might underlie differences between male and female career patterns is the p 31
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians slightly more likely to work part-time, having nearly converged with men over time: 30 percent of women work part time versus 27 percent of men. Within part-timers, women are more likely to work fewer hours. Nevertheless, the vast majority works at least 30 hours each week. There is little difference by gender at mid-career. Figure 22: Male Credentialed Librarians: Hours Worked Per Week by Age, 1980‐2005 Female Credentialed Librarians: Hours Worked Per Week by Age, 1980‐2005 Figure 23: 32
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Male and female librarians remain dedicated to their profession as they age.
A large share credentialed librarians works full-time right into their late 60s, and that percentage is growing over time for both men and women. Only at age 70 or older does part-time employment beco the norm among working librarians. In 2005, nearly two-thirds of working librarians 65 or o put in at least 30 hours a we of me lder ek. r- ents that will occur between 2005 and 2015. The orecasting methodology is straightforward: “surviving” or aging librarians from the year 2005 forw resumably getting hired or retiring, are the growth rates presented above. Trends observed over the past 25 years are also employed to postulate the number of young graduates joining the profession under age 35.
The total counts of librarians that result from these projections were also compared with independent forecasts of the total size of the profession. While historical retirement and growth rates may not hold for the future, they provide a range of outcomes that may be reasonably expected to occur. The librarian profession was projected by age and gender using four different observed growth and retirement rate scenarios: 1) 1980-1990 rates, 2) 1990-2000 rates, 3) 1995-2005 rates, and finally 4) an average of these three rates. For some mid-career joining librarians, continuing to work may be an economic advantage.
They may be accumulating pension or other benefit eligibility after having joined at later ages. Others may be filling an economic gap created by spousal death, retirement, layoff, or employe offered buyout.
Librarian Projections All of the data presented to this point form the basic tools used for projecting the number of librarians to 2015 and estimating the retirem f ard ten years to 2015. The rates at which librarians will join or leave the profession, p 33
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians One confounding factor to consider in this assumption of using past patterns to project the future of a aby-boom generation was moving through the ranks of the profession and the general workforce and women’s overall labor force participation was rising rapidly.
Baby boomers have a way of disrupting established patterns. It may be due to the sheer size of this generation or any of a host of social and cultural factors. Another issue is how the librarian bubble and the rest of baby boomer librarians will retire. Will they follow the patterns observed for the past 25 years? Will they create some new pattern that reflects their unique retirement situation, savings patterns, availability of spousal pensions, and adjustments to the recent economic collapse? Most likely none of these scenarios created here will be what librarians will follow, but the correct scenario will not be known until after fact.
Nevertheless, applying retirement and joining rates observed in the past creates some reasonable parameters and likely outcomes.
lying the four basic scenarios without any external correction for e total size of the profession. That is, the scenarios apply the basic growth rates by age and able inertial mass of librarians in the librarian bubble in their 50s as of 2005, nd relatively large groups preceding and following them who are going to retire in some form. Even before the recent economic downturn, there were few indicators of growth in total librarian mployment. Griffith and King’s 2008 study of public librarians present a model suggesting e or ll age groups of librarians is the fact that all these rates were based on decades when the b Total Counts of Librarians Table 1 shows the results of app th gender.
The results range from a 1.4 to 6.2 percent decline in librarians from 2005 to 2015. External factors will probably have much more influence on the total count of librarians in 2015 than will the internal age structure and demographic momentum of the profession. However, there is an undeni a e annual public librarian growth of 0.37 percent (Griffith and King, 2008). This is similar to th projected growth for all librarians in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (Bureau of Lab Statistics, 2009). K-12 employment may take longer to show any effects of the economic 34
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians downturn but even with a lagged response, employment pressure could be seen within sev years. Public employment may change faster as cash-strapped local units of government are forced to implement library branch closings and reduction of hours. Table 1: Projection Scenarios for Credentialed Librarians 20 eral 15 ilizing 1995-2005 rates could be Age Structure Projection Scenarios for Credentialed Librarians 2015 Scenario 2015 Projected Count Percent Change from 2005 1980-1990 Rates 99,267 -5.2 1990-2000 Rates 98,184 -6.2 1995-2005 Rates 103,204 -1.4 3 Rate Average 99,878 -4.6 Of the three basic scenarios shown in Table 1, the one ut considered the most likely for several reasons.
Since it is the most recent, it has captured the most modern behavioral patterns. The 1995-2005 rates also reflect the decline of early retirement among librarians, something that has also occurred in the country as a whole. With the progressive rise of the qualifying age for Social Security payments, as well as the recent economic downturn, it seems plausible that retirement age will continue to rise. Future While the total librarian count that results from the demographically-based projections is interesting, the state of the U.S. economy is more likely to determine how many librarians there will be in coming years.
The age structure of those librarians will be shaped by an evolution of the same forces that have determined it in the past; these forces are largely demographic. The three scenarios for changing age structure are played out in Figure 24 and Table 2. 35
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Figure 24: Number of Credentialed Librarians 2005 and 2015 Projected Using Rates from Three Past‐Time Periods Figure 24 shows rate scenarios. he current 2005 data taken from Figure 5 are shown for comparison. The impact of delayed retirement implicit in the 1995-2005 scenario is clear. This delay adds significantly to the number of librarians in their 60s in 2015. All three scenarios predict an increase in the numbers of older librarians, but as librarians in the librarian bubble move into their 60s and start to retire and younger librarians increase in numbers, the age structure flattens out.
ea of a flattening age structure in Figure 24 may seem relatively pedestrian, Table 2 age groups when retirement is more common. Not only will the composition of retired librarians 5,000 10,000 lt25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70+ lt25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70+ lt25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70+ lt25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70+ 2006 2015 using 80-90 rates 2015 using 90-0 15,000 0 rates 2015 using 95-06 rates 20,000 25,000 Number of Credentialed Librarians 2006 and 2015 Projected Using Rates from Three Past Time Periods the projected age structure resulting from the three basic growth T While the id shows that librarians as of 2005 are at the leading edge of rapid and enduring changes that the librarian bubble will cause.
Over 40 percent of librarians—the librarian bubble—are between the ages of 50 and 59 as of 2005. This represents nearly 42,500 librarians who are entering the 36
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians change, but also currently employed librarians will be evolving rapidly. In 2000, ten percent of librarians were over age 60; five years later, 15 percent were above that age. By 2015 this percentage will double. Under the most likely scenario (1995-2005 rates), virtually 30 percent of brarians will be above age 60—over 30,500 librarians. It is this projection for 2015 that leads anges in the profession will be enduring and continuous, because the ast majority of that 60+ group will retire between then and 2025. How many librarian positions open up for new entrants to the field will depend on what the total size of the field becomes.
If the relatively flat growth that was widely anticipated even before the total employment and delays of reti ble could depress the number of openings substantially.
li to the conclusion that ch v Following the librarian bubble is the second half of the baby boomer librarians. Though not as big a group, by 2015 when they are 50-59, the projections anticipate between 26,000 and 30,000 at that age. Also on the horizon may be many more librarians age 70 and over, potentially doubling from two percent in 2005 to four percent in 2015. downturn continues, then these projections can be used virtually unchanged. Declines in rement by the librarian bub 37
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians Table 2: Changing Age Distribution of Credentialed Librarians, 1980‐2015 ly 2015 ario Base Changing Age Distribution of Credentialed Librarians, 1980- Age Year Projection Scen 1980 1990 2000 2005 1980-90 1990-00 1995-05 Average Number Under 40 31,481 27,488 19,402 21,076 16,130 17,691 40-59 27,294 50,420 75,449 67,331 56,401 55,208 60+ 6,858 8,786 10,810 16,236 25,737 24,286 Total 65,633 86,694 105,661 104,643 98,268 97,185 Median Age 40.9 44.2 49.5 51.6 52.2 51.5 Number 50-54 7,404 9,929 24,860 20,007 14,103 13,719 55-59 5,970 7,054 14,807 22,463 15,433 14,637 60-64 4,258 5,172 6,279 10,390 13,976 12,652 65-69 1,494 2,297 2,440 3,743 8,643 7,770 70+ 1,106 1,317 2,091 2,103 3,118 3,864 Percents Under 40 48.0 31.7 18.4 20.1 16.4 18.2 17,795 17,205 53,864 55,158 30,546 26,856 102,205 99,219 52.5 52.0 10,823 12,803 15,037 15,032 14,557 13,728 11,396 9,270 4,593 3,858 17.4 17.3 40-59 41.6 58.2 71.4 64.3 57.4 56.8 52.7 55.6 60+ 10.4 10.1 10.2 15.5 26.2 25.0 29.9 27.1 50-54 11.3 11.5 23.5 19.1 14.4 14.1 10.6 12.9 55-59 9.1 8.1 14.0 21.5 15.7 15.1 14.7 15.2 60-64 6.5 6.0 5.9 9.9 14.2 13.0 14.2 13.8 65-69 2.3 2.6 2.3 3.6 8.8 8.0 11.2 9.3 70+ 1.7 1.5 2.0 2.0 3.2 4.0 4.5 3.9 Projected Retirements The original motivation for this project was to project the number of librarian retirements that can be anticipated.
At some point, delays in retirement for the librarian bubble and the groups who precede them will end. Some of that exodus is underway, and Table 3 shows the retirement history as well as what can be anticipated according to the 1995-2005 rate scenario. During the 1980s slightly over 11,400 librarians retired on a net basis. According to this analysis, near 15,000 retired in the 1990s and about the same number during the final, overlapping period of 38
The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians 1995-2005. In contrast, the number of retirements during the 2005-2015 period may almost double, to 28,200 for the decade. The profession may lose an average of 2,820 librarians each year to retirement. es ges as young as mid-50s. Even if ese pension systems weather increased pressure to scale back, librarians face other pressures to , . Table 3: Retirements by Decade Credentialed Librarians Indications of some delay in retirement were already present during the 1995-2005 period. Looking forward, additional factors suggest a continued trend of later retirement.
Librarians are largely public employees. Government pension systems are one of the few remaining sourc where employees may qualify for full retirement benefits at a th continue working. For example, the two-thirds of librarians who are married have spouses who are approaching retirement in the face of nationwide decline in defined-benefit pensions from non-public employers, as well as the demands of ever-increasing health care costs. In addition librarians and their spouses who have built 401Ks are quite likely to have suffered significant losses with the economic Among Retirements by ecade Among Credentialed Librarians Decade D Retirees 1980-1990 11,400 1990-2000 15,000 1995-2005 14,800 2005-2015 28,200 39